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I thought it would be Cpts., as in: "Captains Johansson and Riley were present" -> "Cpts. Johansson and Riley were present", but I cannot find anything definitive online.

Additionally, I would have just used Cpts., except I'm finding lots of results saying CPT should be capitalised, and/or should use Capt (or possibly Capt.) instead. So then I'm wondering if CPTs or CPTS would be the proper usage?

(This is in a purely military usage. And I suspect another issue is based on the country and branch being discussed. I have no specific branch intended. I am American but tend to use British English quite often.)

  • CPT as an abbreviation is neither an acronym nor, really, an initialism. Most guidelines target these subsets. However, as CPT looks very like an initialism, it's probably best to assume a similar convention, resulting in CPTs rather than CPTS. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 28 '19 at 10:42
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As you say, the abbreviation of captain depends on the branch of service (in the US). The plural, then, is created by adding a lower-case 's'.

However, it appears that the plural 'capts.' - especially as used in British English - is archaic. You can find references in 19th century issues of the Asiatic Journal, for example; also note the title of a 1804-6 travelogue of Lewis and Clark (The Travels of Capts. Lewis and Clarke from St. Louis,...)

Here is a usage of 'CPTs' in modern American (Armor, volume 111, issue 5).

In conclusion, if you must abbreviate, I suspect you should use the pluralised form for the service branch you refer to. Or just use 'capts.' for a bit of that old je ne sais quoi.

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